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Smoked chicken drumsticks have a rich and savory flavor that is enhanced by the smoky and slightly sweet taste from the smoking process. The meat is tender, juicy, and succulent, with a slightly crispy skin that adds to the overall texture. The smoking process imparts a deep flavor throughout the meat, resulting in a delicious and satisfying taste that is hard to resist.

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How to Choose Fresh Chicken Drumsticks

When selecting raw chicken drumsticks for cooking, look for ones that have a plump and firm shape with smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid any that have discoloration, bruises, or cuts on the surface. The skin should be a pale pink color with no signs of discoloration. The meat should be a light pink color with no gray or greenish tint.

Ensure that the chicken has been properly refrigerated and has not passed its expiration date. It’s also important to choose chicken that has been raised in a humane and sustainable way, as this can affect the quality and flavor of the meat.

How to Store Fresh Chicken Drumsticks

To store fresh raw chicken drumsticks, keep them in their original packaging or transfer them to a resealable plastic bag. Store the chicken in the coldest part of your refrigerator, ideally at a temperature between 32-39°F (0-4°C). Make sure the chicken is not stored near other foods, especially those that are ready-to-eat, to prevent cross-contamination.

If you need to store the chicken for a longer period, you can freeze it for up to 6-9 months. To freeze, wrap each drumstick tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container, removing as much air as possible. Label the package with the date and contents.

Wood Pairing for Chicken Drumsticks

The best wood to use for smoking chicken drumsticks is a hardwood that imparts a mild to medium smoky flavor, such as apple, cherry, pecan, or maple wood. These woods complement the tender and juicy texture of chicken drumsticks without overpowering their delicate flavor. Apple and cherry wood are popular choices for smoking chicken drumsticks because they add a slightly sweet and fruity flavor to the meat.

Pecan and maple wood are also excellent choices, as they can provide a mild and nutty flavor that pairs well with chicken. Using a mild to medium hardwood is generally the most flavorful option for smoking chicken drumsticks.

Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

Smoked chicken drumsticks are a delicious and easy-to-make option for a summer barbecue. The drumsticks are coated in a savory blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and other seasonings, and then slow-cooked in a smoker or on a grill until they are tender and juicy. The result is a flavorful and mouthwatering chicken drumstick that is sure to impress your guests.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Resting Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 13 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 160 kcal


  • 8 large chicken drumsticks
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil


  • 6 tbsp. rotisserie seasoning

Recommended Wood

  • apple wood, cherry wood, pecan wood, or maple wood



  • Wash the chicken drumsticks, and pat dry. Set aside.
  • Preheat your smoker to 250°F. Apple, cherry, pecan, or maple wood is recommended.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and rotisserie seasoning.
  • Brush the chicken drumsticks with the olive oil mixture, making sure to coat them evenly.


  • Place the chicken drumsticks on the smoker and smoke for 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Increase the temperature of the smoker to 350°F. Finish the drumsticks at high temperature for 15-20 minutes to crisp skin.
  • Remove the chicken drumsticks from the smoker or grill and let them rest before serving.


Nutrition Information (per serving):
  • Calories: 160
  • Total Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 95mg
  • Sodium: 160mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Protein: 19g
Keyword chicken, chicken drumsticks, smoked

Side Dishes for Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

If you’ve already got the smoker fired up, why not make some sides to go with those smoked chicken drumsticks? We’ve got some recommendations for easy, delicious sides you can cook right alongside your main course. Recommendations below are grouped by wood type. Try to choose sides that pair just as well with your wood choice as your chicken does.

Select the wood type for your Smoked Chicken Drumsticks:

How to Store Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

To store cooked smoked chicken drumsticks, allow them to cool to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Store the container or bag in the refrigerator and use the chicken within 3-4 days.

If you need to store the chicken for a longer period, you can freeze it for up to 2-3 months. To freeze, wrap each drumstick tightly in plastic wrap. Place them in a freezer-safe bag or container, removing as much air as possible. Label the package with the date and contents.

How to Reheat Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

To reheat cooked chicken drumsticks, the best method is to use an oven or microwave. For the oven method, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the chicken drumsticks on a baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

For the microwave method, place the chicken drumsticks on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes per drumstick or until heated through. Be sure to check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a minimum temperature of 165°F (74°C).

What are Chicken Drumsticks?

Chicken drumsticks are a cut of meat that comes from the lower part of a chicken’s leg. They are a popular type of chicken meat and are often used in a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, and as a standalone entrée. Chicken drumsticks are known for their dark, tender meat and rich flavor.

Smoked Chicken Drumsticks - Butcher's Diagram

They are usually sold bone-in and skin-on, although boneless and skinless varieties are also available. Chicken drumsticks are a good source of protein and essential nutrients, including vitamin B12, iron, and zinc.

They can be prepared in a variety of ways, including baking, grilling, frying, or sautéing. Chicken drumsticks can be seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices to enhance their flavor. Drumsticks can be served on their own or paired with a variety of sides, such as rice, potatoes, or vegetables.

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